9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – December 14th, 2021

Dear Friends
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
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Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

GS Paper 4

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Fathoming the new world disorder

Source: This post is based on the article “Fathoming the new world disorder” published in The Hindu on 13th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Relevance: Understanding the USA’s strategic dilemma post-Afghan withdrawal.

News: The inconclusive wars the U.S. fought in recent years has allowed its regional rivals an opportunity wherein they are trying to maximise their influence, even at the risk of triggering more conflicts.

This transition, from American unipolarity into something that is still unknown, has put America in a strategic dilemma:

Should it stay focused on China or continue to guard the liberal order that is under attack from multiple fronts?

American withdrawal from Afghanistan is, hence, a development is going to have far-reaching impact on global geopolitics.

What are the two dominant narratives around American withdrawal from Afghanistan?

There are two dominant narratives about the American withdrawal.

One, that the U.S. exited the country on its own will as it is undertaking a larger realignment in its foreign policy. This argument rejects any comparison between the American pull-back from Vietnam in 1975 and its retreat from Afghanistan.

Second, that the U.S. failed to win the war in Afghanistan and, like in the case of Vietnam, was forced to withdraw from the country.

This writer of this article believes in the second view.

What are the examples of a declining American influence?

Superpowers suffering military setbacks at the hands of weaker forces indicates great power fatigue, prompting both their allies and rivals to rethink their strategic assessments. In the case of the USA, this fatigue and a gradual erosion of its ability to shape geopolitical outcomes in faraway regions is visible in the following events:

In Iraq and Libya, it failed to establish political stability and order after invasions.

It could not stop Russia taking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

In Syria, it was outmanoeuvred by Vladimir Putin.

Finally, the way American troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban to power has strengthened this perception of great power fatigue. It has also emboldened America’s rivals to openly challenge the U.S.-centric rules-based order.

How the US authority is being challenged by its rivals across the world?

– Russia has amassed about 175,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, indicating that Vladimir Putin could order an invasion of Ukraine. He has also backed Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko over the refugee crisis on the Polish border of the European Union.

The Russian President is sending a clear message to the West that the region stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a Russian sphere of influence.

Countering Russia can be done via imposing harsher sanctions, but they have achieved little previously. Moreover, economic sanctions will push Russia further towards China.

– West Asia: Iran, which has stepped up its nuclear programme after the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal, has refused to hold direct talks with the U.S.

If the U.S. lifts the sanctions, it could be read as another sign of weakness. If it does not and if the Vienna talks collapse, Iran could continue to enrich uranium to a higher purity, attaining a de facto nuclear power status without a bomb (like Japan). This would be against America’s interests in West Asia.

– South China Sea: China is sending dozens of fighter jets into the so-called Taiwan Air Defence Identification Zone (TADIZ). This has triggered speculation on whether Beijing is considering taking the island by force. As the U.S. is trying to shift its focus to the Indo-Pacific region to tackle China’s rise, China is seeking strategic depth in its periphery.

ForumIAS is now in Hyderabad. Click here to know more

A global gateway to creating links, not dependencies

Source: This post is based on the article “A global gateway to creating links, not dependencies” published in The Hindu on 14th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests.

Relevance: Understanding the Global Gateway strategy of the European Union (EU)

News: With its new Global Gateway strategy, the European Union is showing how it can aid investors, partners and people, without any debt traps, and with projects that are sustainable and serve the needs of local populations.

What is the Global Gateway strategy?

Read here

How EU is forging global partnerships with various countries?

India:

In May 2021, at the Leader’s Meeting in Porto, the European Union (EU) and India adopted the Connectivity Partnership, expanding cooperation across the digital, energy, transport, and people-to-people sectors.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has financed over €4.31 billion in the India since 1993, including significant connectivity projects. New operations are in the pipeline, such as further EIB investments in urban metro systems.

Brazil:

Earlier this year, the EU and Brazil inaugurated a new fibre-optic cable between the two continents. This helps scientists in Europe and Latin America to work together, on issues from climate modelling to disaster mitigation. The cable links two continents together, building a data economy that respects the privacy of its citizens’ data.

Africa:

Recently, the EIB signed a €100 million credit line to support African small and medium businesses to recover from the pandemic and to seize growth opportunities from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

How the connectivity challenge is being addressed under the Global Gateway strategy?

For Europe to master the connectivity challenge, it needs not only principles and frameworks, but also adequate resources and clear priorities.

First, by using the resources of Team Europe, the EU and its Member States in a smarter, more efficient way. The Global Gateway will mobilise investments of more than €300 billion in public and private funds for global infrastructure development between 2021 and 2027.

Secondly, by ensuring that EU internal programmes — InvestEU, Horizon Europe and the Connecting Europe Facility — will support Global Gateway, alongside Member States’ development banks, national promotional banks and export credit agencies.

Thirdly, capital from the private sector will remain the biggest source of investment in infrastructure. EU is exploring the possibility of establishing a European Export Credit Facility to complement the existing export credit arrangements at the Member State level. This would help ensure a more level-playing field for EU businesses in third country markets, where they increasingly have to compete with foreign competitors that receive large support from their governments.

Fourthly, Global Gateway has identified a number of flagship projects. These include 1) the extension of the BELLA (Building the Europe Link to Latin America) cable to the rest of the Latin America, as part of the EU-LAC Digital Alliance, 2) the expansion of the Trans-European Network to improve transport links with the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan countries, 3) scaled-up funding for the Erasmus+ student exchange programme worldwide.


The case for deeper technological ties with London

Source: This post is based on the article “The case for deeper technological ties with London” published in Indian Express on 14th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – India – U.K bilateral Partnership

Relevance: Technology ties, India-U. K partnership

News: This week, Prime Minister of UK is set to address the Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit convened annually in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs.

When Delhi thinks of technological cooperation with major powers, the US, Europe and Japan come to mind. But, the missing link in India’s technological space, however, is the United Kingdom.

In this context, a technology partnership with Britain would be a significant gain for India.

Why the technological partnership with the UK is significant for India?

The U.K has a long tradition of scientific research and technological development: For instance, Britain was the first nation to industrialise.

Has top-ranking universities: For instance, the golden triangle of science and innovation (London, Oxford and Cambridge)

One of the world’s top technology powers: Britain is ranked 3rd in the world’s cyber power index, published by Harvard University’s Belfer Centre, in 2020. This year World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ranked Britain 4th in the global innovation index while India was ranked at the 46th position.

Ambitious policy goals for harnessing technological revolution in various reports: For instance, outer space strategy, artificial intelligence strategy. All these elements in British policy meets with India’s own economic, political, and security interests. The British technology initiatives are also aligned with the technological agenda of the Quad. It is expected to announce a new cyber strategy in 2022.

London wants to build a coalition of like-minded countries to reshape the global governance of technology: This includes strengthening technological ties with the traditionally close partners in the Anglosphere (US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) as well as other partners like Japan and India.

Strategic Reasons: India can’t collaborate with Russia as it lags behind its Western cousins in civilian technologies, whereas collaborating with China is out of the question due to President Xi Jinping’s expansionist policies.

Other significant reasons: Britain is the world’s 5th-largest economy, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a major financial centre.

Why the UK is also rethinking its approach towards the subcontinent?

Post-Brexit Britain is looking for solid international partners to retain its position at the top of the global order. As a result, stronger ties with India have become a major political priority for London, too.

The steady relative decline of Pakistan (its economy is now about a tenth of India’s) and

India’s deepening strategic partnership with Washington

These factors are also encouraging London to rethink its past approach to the Subcontinent.

What is the way forward?

A new alliance with Britain will generate domestic prosperity, enhance national security, Increase India’s the global technology hierarchy, and contribute to the construction of a free, open, and democratic global technological order.

India recognises the enormous strategic possibilities with Britain and is willing to invest political capital to build on those synergies.


“Karnataka government has done right thing by adding eggs to mid day meals”

Source– –– This post is based on the article “Karnataka government has done right thing by adding eggs to mid day meals” published in The Indian express on 14th Dec 2021 

Syllabus– GS Paper 2(Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms) 

Relevance– Innovations in the public welfare schemes and their impact 

News– Karnataka is the last southern state to introduce eggs in its mid day meal program.  

It has recently introduced eggs to its mid-day meal scheme in some of its districts to solve the acute malnutrition problem there. Unfortunately, this policy is facing backlash by some religious groups. 

Why adding eggs to mid-day meal menu is a good step? 

Eggs (or milk or bananas) are a wholesome food and provide protein, calcium, and vitamins at one go 

According to the National Family Health Survey-5, Karnataka has 35 per cent of children under the age of five and 20 per cent stunted and wasted respectively. Some of its Northern districts even have stunting figures as high as 57 percent. 

Large majority of its people have no cultural aversion to eating non-vegetarian food. 

Eggs are already served to pregnant and lactating women, and severely malnourished and wasted children, in anganwadis across the state. 

Some sections have called it discriminatory to Vegetarians but Government has also decided to offer bananas to those who do not consume eggs. 

Conclusion–  

Public policy should be guided by facts and science and not by short sighted concerns and sectarian interests 

This is especially important keeping in mind that India is still struggling to improve its health statistics. 


“State declarations must not be made via twitter”

Source- This post is based on the article “State declarations must not be made via twitter” published in Live mint on 14th Dec 2021. 

Syllabus- GS Paper 2 (Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance) 

Relevance- Technology in governance  

News– Prime minister’s twitter account was hacked on Sunday. 

A false tweet was sent out claiming that “India has officially adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender” and that “government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country”.   

This is the second such hacking instance of PM’s account in a year, last time the fake tweet appealed for donations in cryptocurrency to the Prime Minister’s covid relief fund. 

Not restricted to India but a global problem 

Last July, the handles of former US president Barack Obama, rapper Kanye West, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and others got taken over by scamsters offering to double the money of people who sent Bitcoin via a specified link. 

What are the concerns regarding using social media for official announcements 

1)Threat of hacking- Accounts can easily get hacked as shown by instances mentioned above. 

Vulnerable citizens -Although such scammers put out messages that are hard to believe but still it is not a guarantee that all receivers of message will not fall prey to it. 

Lead to a difficult situation in a standoff Tweets mistaken for official statements by those in high positions of power could compound the problem. This may further weaken the bilateral/Multilateral relation between nations. 

Although some leaders in past like Trump has set this precedent to announce major decisions via twitter, but this is not a risk free choice. 

2) Undue advantage – 

News breaks with market-sensitive information should not be available to a private party even for a moment before it goes public. 

Technical delays and content filters lead to time lag in tweets which means that twitter has an information advantage vis a vis twitter users. 

In present time even split-second delay can lead to big financial losses and data arbitrage. No company should have any privileged access to valuable material. This may have grave consequences.  

Only Official channels which have assured security should be used for important announcements. 


“The kind of engineering education we need”

Source- This post is based on the article “The kind of engineering education we need” published in The Indian express on 14th Dec 2021. 

Syllabus- GS Paper 2(Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education) 

Relevance- How application based learning can increase innovation. 

Introduction 

Current education curriculum is completely detached from a student’s life. It is highly theoretical and leaves very less space for intellectual development. 

For example- Students of class 10th are expected to learn about DC motors and parallel resistances. Whereas reality is that less than 50 per cent of Class 8 students of rural government schools can do division. (ASER Report 2016-18 by Pratham NGO). 

There is need for moving away from deep theoretical education to a practical broad-based one which can lead to development and generation of jobs. 

How can application based practical learning help in solving day to day problems- 

Case study 

As is widely known that subsidized electricity has led to inefficient use of groundwater and thus its depletion. 

A study at IIT Bombay by the name Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture has documented a case study about restructuring of electricity distribution network in Washim (Maharashtra). 

Here basic engineering knowledge and restructuring was used to improve performance, save cost of installation of new connections and cut down distribution losses. 

This reduced the stress and agricultural loss that farmers suffer due to breakdown of supply. 

What are the advantages of practical learning  

It gives solutions that provide jobs, save resources, and improve the lives of our people. 

It does not need cutting-edge research capability in any one discipline. Instead, it needs a multidisciplinary approach which takes best from different fields.  

This approach to education provides solutions that make best use of available capacity instead of investing huge amount of resources. 

Example- Solutions like target of installation of 18 lakh solar pumps under scheme like PM-KUSUM have easy implementation but have low advantage over some practical solutions. These require huge capital which make them a low return on investment option. 

(PM -KUSUM was launched for ensuring energy security for farmers in India, along with honoring India’s commitment to increase the share of installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil-fuel sources.) 

Practical approach involves contextual learning which has better learning outcomes. As seen in some tribal areas that it is a better option than using tribal language as a medium.  

Contextual learning is a method of instruction that enables students to apply new knowledge and skills to real-life situations. 

A recent MIT study shows that Contextualized learning and inter-disciplinary approach can teach students how to solve actual problems. 

GS Paper 3


On COP26: Home truths on climate change

Source: This post is based on the article “Home truths on climate change” published in The Hindu on 13th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Relevance: Understanding domestic policies in light of the new climate targets announced by India at COP26

News: Surprising many, India announced its net-zero target, including many other new commitments, at the recently held COP 26 meeting in Glasgow.

This has established India as a world leader in fighting the climate change crisis. But, there is a gap between what the government says on the international stage and what it does at home.

Must Read: Glasgow Climate Pact (GCP) – Explained, pointwise
How India’s internal policies are in divergence to what it committed at COP 26?

– Coal use: India is privatising the coal industry, auctioning coal mines and encouraging open cast mines without the guarantee of end use, but for commercialisation and export. Thus, coal is used as a commodity for profit, not necessarily for any development purposes.

– Forest loss and land degradation: India did not sign the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. India did not sign the agreement on the ground that the declaration linked trade to land use and trade falls under the purview of the World Trade Organization. However, within, India is promoting corporatisation of agriculture and the encouragement of contract farming.

Also, the government has moved to monetise, privatise and commercialise the forests as reflected in the proposed Forest Policy of 2018, the suggested amendments to the Forest Act of 1927, the amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 etc. All these changes strip the Gram Sabhas of any voice in decision-making processes. These policies have accelerated the diversion of forests for a variety of projects.

From 2013-2019, it is estimated that 96% of tree cover loss occurred in natural forests.

– Carbon sequestration: In the 2015 COP in Paris, India had promised that it would develop carbon sinks to the equivalent of 2 billion to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030. The government set up a Green Mission for the regeneration of forests, afforestation, additional forest and tree cover. The Estimates Committee of Parliament in its 2018-2019 report stated that to fulfil the promise of sequestering the CO2 target, 30 million hectares of land are required to plant indigenous trees, not monocultures or plantations as is being done at present. At present, the lands of forest-dwelling communities are being forcibly taken away and used for plantations. The Gram Sabhas are not being consulted. The communities which have the least role to play in carbon emissions are being made to pay for it with their lands and livelihoods.

The pursuit of such policies domestically damages the credibility of India’s stand on international platforms.

What is the way forward?

As per Brinda Karat, the author of this article,

– Govt must reverse its pro-corporate policies reflected in privatisation.

– It should not modify or try to effect changes in the Forest Rights Act and constitutional provisions that protect Adivasi communities.


On USO Fund: Speed up broadband roll-out

Source: This post is based on the article “Speed up broadband roll-out” published in The Business Standard on 13th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Relevance: Managing the USO fund.

News: It has been almost two decades since the Union government’s telecom policy set aside 5% of its receipts from the sector towards the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund. The USO fund now totals in excess of Rs 1 trillion.

The management of this fund is often in question.

Also, in light of the size of the amount remaining in the fund, almost Rs 60,000 crore at present, a rent-seeking war has begun in the telecom industry.

Note: When a firm uses its resources to procure an unwarranted monetary gain from external elements, be it directly or indirectly, without giving anything in return to them or the society, it is termed as rent-seeking.

Must Read: What is a USO Fund? – Everything you need to know
What are the issues with the management of the USO Fund (USOF)?

As pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CGI),

The USO levy is first supposed to be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). It is then subsequently transferred to a non-lapsable USOF created in the public account. This statutory obligation, to pass dues on to the USOF is not happening in a timely manner. As a result, the money has remained in the Consolidated Fund of India, where it has been used to artificially reduce the fiscal deficit.

The fund, even when topped up, has been only half used. This defeats the purpose of the USOF to manage market failures in the telecom sector by boosting infrastructure and access in underserved areas of the country.

About half the money disbursed from the USO fund so far has gone towards the BharatNet project initiated in 2011. The project has been delayed till early 2023. It was originally supposed to be 2016. It is worth asking whether a shortage of funds has caused this delay and if so, then why the USO fund has not been fully utilized.

– Rent-seeking: The state-controlled providers such as BSNL have traditionally seen the money in the USO fund as ways to support their operations. Now, various other telco players, apart from the BSNL, have staked their claim. This has given rise to a rent-seeking war. For instance: Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb have noted that they might provide a cost-effective way of getting broadband connectivity to hard-to-reach areas. Also, Reliance Jio has argued that the USO fund could be used to subsidise handsets. This would enable low-income users to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones, and thereby increase the uptake of mobile broadband in the country.

What is the way forward?

Govt must stop using the USO Fund arbitrarily, and should create a road map for utilising the funds based on transparent and commonly agreed principles.

As per the recommendation of the 2015 expert committee, the USO Fund can be allowed to borrow on the market to smoothen its capital flows in the short term, with the interest cost being considered part of the project expenses.

The USO fund should be fully utilised in BharatNet Phase II, with a focus on a transparent technology-neutral financing of broadband infrastructure.

The focus must be on infrastructure creation, not on other forms of subsidies.


Bank-NBFC co-lending: how it works, and the concerns it raises

Source: This post is based on the article “Bank-NBFC co-lending: how it works, and the concerns it raises” published in Indian Express on 14th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to the Banking sector

Relevance: Co-Lending Model, Priority sector lending, NBFCs

News: Several banks have entered into co-lending ‘master agreements’ with NBFCs, and more are in the pipeline

Recently, the RBI permitted the banks to co-lend with all registered NBFCs (including HFCs) to increase lending to the priority sector based on a prior agreement.

This has led to unusual tie-ups between banks and NBFCs. For instance, SBI signed a deal with Adani Capital, a small NBFC, for co-lending to farmers to help them buy tractors and farm implements.

What is the Co-Lending Model?

Operational flexibility: Co-Lending Model allows for a joint contribution of credit at the facility level by both the lenders, as also sharing of risks and rewards.

AIM: to improve the flow of credit to the unserved and underserved sector of the economy

Rationale behind this model: The lower cost of funds from banks and greater reach of the NBFCs will make available funds to the beneficiary at an affordable cost.

Significance for banks:  It will help banks to expand customer base and enables them to provide last mile banking services.

What are the issues/challenges in RBI’s co lending model?

Disproportionate risks on Banks: Under the CLM, NBFCs are required to retain at least a 20% share of individual loans on their books. This means 80% of the risk will be with the banks and in case of a default banks will take the big hit.

Disparity in roles and responsibilities: For instance, the RBI guidelines provide for the NBFCs to be the single point of interface for customers, and to enter into loan agreements with borrowers. In effect, while the banks fund the major chunk of the loan, the NBFC decides the borrower.

Corporates in banking: While the RBI hasn’t officially allowed the entry of big corporate houses into the banking space, NBFCs — mostly floated by corporate houses — were already accepting public deposits. They now have more opportunities on the lending side through direct co-lending arrangements.

Recent failure of NBFC’s increases the risk: For instance, the recent collapse of four big finance firms (IL&FS, DHFL, SREI and Reliance Capital). Collectively, these firms owe around Rs 1 lakh crore to investors.

RBI’s reasoning that NBFCs have wider reach is flawed: Many bankers point out that the reach of banks is far wider than small NBFCs with 100-branch networks in serving underserved and unserved segments.


The tug of war within the gig economy

Source: This post is based on the article “THE TUG OF WAR WITHIN THE GIG ECONOMY” published in Livemint on 14th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS3  – Growth and Development

Relevance: Gig worker, Platform companies, Labour rights

News: This year, Uber lost a significant legal battle against its workers in the UK.

The U. K’s Supreme Court upheld a previous ruling by the employment tribunal that the 25 drivers who had brought a case against Uber are indeed employees and not contractors.

Consequently, Uber announced that it would start treating all its drivers in the UK as workers who are entitled to a minimum wage, holiday pay, and pension.

This incident holds significance for India, as the hostility between platform companies and gig workers in India have already begun.

Must Read: Gig Workers and their challenges – Explained, pointwise
What are the developments in other countries?

European Union: It recently introduced a draft that aims to make platform companies (Uber, Instacart, and Amazon) classify their gig workforce as ‘employees’ and provide them with additional benefits.

US: The Platform companies in California won a battle that would allow them to continue classifying their workers as contractors as opposed to employees.

What are the challenges/issues faced by Gig workers?

Firstly, there is no transparency on how and when incentive structures would be provided.

Secondly, there is no discussion on cost structures that would be sustainable in the long term. Currently, to grab market share, platform companies are reluctant to make customers pay the right fares. This unsustainable model forces platform companies to sustain by charging high commissions on the gig workers.

Thirdly, platform workers have little or no voice. Technology has tilted the power and bargaining scales strongly in favour of the platform companies.

Fourthly, Platforms in India have been plagued by even more fundamental issues like

– Frequent and random changes to the commission structure

– Delays in payments

– Deliberate miscommunication of earnings potential to attract gig workers

– Lack of access to basic amenities

Why platform companies are reluctant to assign employee status to Gig workers?

Low utilization of their workforce and high operating costs is the fundamental problem that platform companies would be faced with if their gig workers are classified as employees.

This will force them to employ far fewer gig workers on a full-time basis in order to optimize ‘utilization’. The power of the platform model lies in its ability to deliver a great customer experience along with high operating efficiency by relying on many gig workers. However, cutting down the workforce will end up killing the business model as it will reduce customer experience by increasing wait times and it would also increase the cost for drivers by increasing their idle run.

What is the way forward?

First, Platform companies need to publicly commit to ensure that every gig worker, irrespective of the number of hours put in every month, will be paid an equivalent living/minimum wages.

Second, other platform companies can learn from the Uber experience in the U.K. Uber has committed to provide the national living wage, paid holiday time equivalent to about 12% of driver’s earnings along with a pension plan.

Finally, the situation can be rectified if everyone who is a part of this dispute namely the platform companies, the gig workers, and the lawmakers take a pragmatic approach.


Why Farmers Won, People Lost

Source: This post is based on the article “Why Farmers Won, People Lost” published in TOI on 14th Dec 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to MSP

Relevance: Economic reforms, Democratic process

News: Lesson that can be learnt from the farm laws episode for navigating reforms in the future.

Economic reforms produce winners and losers. In the case of farm laws, losers were the relatively large farmers with a marketable surplus, who feared losing the protection of the minimum support price (MSP).

On the other side, potential winners were the larger public, who would have benefitted by way of a cleaner environment and lower agricultural prices. Further, the money saved on MSP could be spent on social welfare measures.

In theory, any reform measure where the winners gain more than the losers will be passed successfully. But this theory failed in the case of farm laws.

Analysing what went wrong, will help us to prepare better in the future.

What lesson can we learn from the farm laws episode for navigating reforms in the future?

Firstly, major reforms should be done with public consultation. In the absence of dissemination of right information about the reforms, minority interest groups are able to uphold their own interest over the majority’s.

Secondly, interest group dynamics, biases, and even misinformation should be dealt properly.

Thirdly, governments need to invest effort into communication and consultation to prevent the debate from getting hijacked by a narrow interest group.

Must Read: The farm law fiasco offers 7 key lessons on how to reform in a democracy

Insect hits 9L acres of chilli crop in south India; experts point to use of pesticide

Source: This post is based on the article Insect hits 9L acres of chilli crop in south India; experts point to use of pesticide published in Indian Express on 13th Dec 2021.

What is the news?

A new species of insect named “Thrips Parvispinus” is damaging the chilli crop in several states in south India. 

What is Thrips Parvispinus?

Thrips Parvispinus is an invasive insect species from Indonesia. It was first discovered in India in 2015.

The insect species is affecting the plants at the flowering stage and stunting the growth of fruits.

Each female Thrips lays eggs through Parthenogenesis (without requiring the male) and sucks the sap of leaf, flower and also the fruit, causing extensive damage to the crop within no time

What is the reason for the spread of this invasive insect species?

The indiscriminate use of pesticides by farmers, knowingly or unknowingly, has been the main reason for this insect developing resistance to pesticides and their ‘natural enemies’ in the field being terminated.

What is the solution to this problem?

Scientists are advising farmers to implement integrated pest management practices like spraying neem oil and using bio-pesticides as an immediate remedy.

Farmers are being advised not to use synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates and other growth-enhancing fertilisers, which would only aggravate the situation further


GS Paper 4

Disability must be viewed as a strength, Not burden

Source- This post is based on the article “Disability must be viewed as a strength, Not burden” published in Times of India on 14th Dec 2021. 

Syllabus- GS Paper 4(compassion towards the weaker sections) 

Relevance- Ways to build a more inclusive society  

News- 

Globally, unemployment among people with disabilities is higher than the rest of the population and pandemic has further widened the gap in societal inclusion. 

Corporates need to acknowledge this disability divide and take proactive steps. 

Disability divide is the gap in societal inclusion for people with disabilities, including in education, employment and access to technology. 

Problem people with disabilities face while looking for work 

1) People with disabilities are less likely to get an interview and are often screened out of the interview process.  

2)According to United Nations states, in most developed countries the official unemployment rate for persons with disabilities of working age is at least twice that for those who don’t have a disability. 

3) People with disabilities are paid less than minimum wage, or “subminimum wage”  

What need to be done to make workforce inclusive 

1) There should be an acknowledge of the bias that differently abled face 

2) Companies need to find the factors that make their hiring process discriminatory to people with disabilities and correct them. Example– Microsoft has tapped into a larger talent pool among people with autism by removing the interview requirement for them. 

3) Companies need to ensure that all employees get a fair wage. 

4) Getting the right skills for jobs should be made easier. Example-websites need to be accessible, videos need to be captioned, managers should be educated and aware of disability.  

Conclusion 

There should be social equity and inclusion for people with disabilities across several different facets of life, particularly education and employment.  

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

India votes against U.N. draft resolution on climate change

Source: This post is based on the article “India votes against U.N. draft resolution on climate change” published in The Hindu on 14th Dec 2021.

What is the news?

India has voted against a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) linking climate to security.

The resolution was sponsored by Ireland and Niger, and it did not pass, with 12 UNSC members voting for it, India and Russia voting against it and China abstaining.

Why India voted against the draft resolution?

As per India, the resolution was an attempt to shift climate talks from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to the Security Council and a step backward for collective action on the issue.

What did India say regarding the resolution?

The attempt to discuss climate action and climate justice issues at the UNSC was motivated by a desire to evade responsibility in the appropriate forum.

The draft resolution, would undermine progress made at Glasgow, where the latest round of talks under the UNFCCC, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Also, the reason countries were attempting to bring climate talks to the Security Council was that decisions could be taken without consensus or the involvement of most developing countries.

Moreover, if the Security Council indeed takes over the responsibility on this issue, a few states will then have a free hand in deciding on all climate-related issues. This is clearly neither desirable nor acceptable.

Lastly, India stated that viewing conflicts through the prism of climate change was misleading and an oversimplification that could worsen conflicts rather than resolving them.

Must Read: Glasgow Climate Pact (GCP) – Explained, pointwise

AIM NITI Aayog, & Embassy of Denmark launches 2nd edition of water innovation challenges to address global water woes

Source: This post is based on the article AIM NITI Aayog, & Embassy of Denmark launches 2nd edition of water innovation challenges to address global water woespublished in PIB on 13th Dec 2021.

What is the news?

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and the Royal Embassy of Denmark to India have launched the 2nd Edition of Water Innovation Challenges.

What is the Water Innovation Challenge?

Water Innovation Challenge aims to identify innovative & next-gen solutions to solve proposed challenges in collaboration with corporate and public partners.

The challenge is being conducted under the partnership of AIM, NITI Aayog and Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) under the aegis of the Denmark Embassy in India and the Denmark Technical University (DTU).

The initiative will engage young talents from leading universities across the nation and support them in building their skills and applying their technical disciplines and innovation capacity.

The challenge winners will get the opportunity to represent India at the International Water Congress 2022. The Denmark Embassy in India and the DTU will also be preparing the participants for the Global Next Generation Water Action (NGWA) program.

Note: NGWA is hosted by DTU. It is an international university-powered initiative that revolves around youth involvement in the sustainable agenda.
About India-Denmark Green Strategic partnership

The Indian and Denmark PM had co-chaired a virtual summit in 2020 during which both the PMs had agreed to elevate the Indo-Danish relations to a Green Strategic Partnership

The partnership aims to advance political cooperation and expand economic relations b/w the two countries including green growth, creating jobs and strengthening cooperation on addressing global challenges and opportunities. 


India lays emphasis on UNCLOS

Source: This post is based on the article “India lays emphasis on UNCLOSpublished in The Hindu on 14th Dec 2021.

What is the news?

The Government of India has informed Parliament that India is committed to a free, open and rules-based order. It has also reiterated its support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Click Here to read about UNCLOS
India’s Commitment to Maritime Security

India is committed to safeguarding maritime interests and strengthening security in the Indian Ocean Region to ensure a favourable and positive maritime environment.

It supports freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of UNCLOS.

Note: These statements come in the backdrop of the Chinese Navy increasing its presence into the Indian Ocean considered the backyard of the Indian Navy. 

Maritime Cooperation of India 

India has developed its maritime cooperation with regional partners in sync with its vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

The steps taken include ‘Mission based Deployments’ of naval ships and aircraft to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness, promote maritime security and address contingencies that may arise.

In addition, India proactively engaged with regional and extra-regional maritime forces through multilateral exercises, joint surveillance, coordinated patrols among others to promote maritime security in the region.

Must Read: How India is increasing its Maritime Domain Awareness?

Protecting wildlife: 2,054 cases registered in three years

Source: This post is based on the article Protecting wildlife: 2,054 cases registered in three years published in The Hindu on 14th December 2021.

What is the News?

The government of India has provided data on the cases registered by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) against illegal trafficking of wild animals and the operations conducted by them.

How many cases were registered against the killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India?

Between 2018 and 2020, about 2,054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India.

What are the operations conducted by WCCB against illegal wildlife trade?

Operation Save Kurma: It focuses on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises. 

Operation Turtshield: It was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles.

Operation Softgold: To tackle illegal trade in Shahtoosh shawls (made from Chiru wool).

Operation LESKNOW: To bring the attention of the enforcement agencies within the country towards the illegal wildlife trade in lesser-known species such as Deer, Wild Boar, Jackal, Mongoose, Monitor Lizard, Sea cucumber and Pangolin.

Operation Clean Art: To drag the attention of enforcement agencies towards illegal wildlife trade in Mongoose hairbrushes.

Operation THUNDERBIRD: It concentrated mainly on illegal trade in species such as Tigers and other Asian big cats, Bears, Pangolins, Reptiles, Red Sanders, Sea-cucumber and seahorses. 

Operation Birbil: To curb illegal trade in wild cat and wild bird species.

Operation Wildnet: It was aimed to draw the attention of the enforcement agencies within the country to focus their attention on the ever-increasing illegal wildlife trade over the internet using social media platforms.

Operation Freefly: It was conducted to check the illegal trade of live birds.

Operation Wetmark: It was taken up to ensure the prohibition of the sale of meat of wild animals in wet markets across the country.

Must read: Conservation Efforts in India

India successfully launches Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo System

ource: This post is based on the following articles 

  • India successfully launches Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo Systempublished in Business Standard on 14th December 2021.
  • Supersonic missile assisted torpedo system successfully launched from Wheeler Island in Odishapublished in PIB on 13th December 2021.
  • Supersonic missile-assisted torpedo system successfully launched: DRDOpublished in The Hindu on 14th December 2021.
What is the News?

India has successfully test-fired a long-range Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo(SMART) from Wheeler Island in Odisha.

What is the SMART System?

Torpedoes, self-propelled weapons that travel underwater to hit a target, are limited by their range. To overcome that, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed the SMART system.

This SMART system comprises a mechanism by which the torpedo is launched from a supersonic missile system with modifications that would take the torpedo to a far longer range than its own. 

For example, a torpedo with a range of a few kilometres can be sent a distance to the tune of 1000 km by the missile system from where the torpedo is launched.

Read more: DRDO & Indian Air Force successfully flight-test indigenous Stand-Off Anti-Tank Missile
Features of SMART System

Firstly, it is a canister-based missile system.​​ Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.

Secondly, it consists of advanced technologies viz. two-stage solid propulsion, electro-mechanical actuators and precision inertial navigation.

Significance of SMART System

This will enhance the anti-submarine warfare capability of the Indian Navy far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo. 

Moreover, this will promote self-reliance in defence, harnessing of expertise and capabilities.


Climate Change makes children vulnerable to infectious diseases: Study

Source: This post is based on the article “Climate Change makes children vulnerable to infectious diseases: Study published in PIB on 13th Dec 2021.

What is the News?

A study conducted by researchers from the Banaras Hindu University(BHU) shows that climate change is making children vulnerable to infectious diseases. 

About the study

The study was conducted to probe the association between climate parameters and infectious diseases in children under 16-years-of-age in Varanasi city in the central Indo-Gangetic Plain.

What are the key findings of the study?

Climate Change driven by human-made activities is making children vulnerable to infectious diseases.

The climate parameters like temperature, humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, and wind speed accounted for 9-18% of the total infectious disease cases while non-climate parameters account for the rest. 

For example, a 1 degree Celsius rise in maximum temperature was associated with an increase in diarrhoea and skin-disease cases by 3.97% and 3.94%, respectively.

Significance of this study

The findings from the study will help to get the attention of government and policymakers to prioritise effective measures for child health, as the present association may increase disease burden in the future under climate-change scenarios.

Read more: Climate change is already damaging health of children, says Lancet report

Centre’s new incentive scheme for States to achieve their targets and become eligible for incremental borrowing

Source: This post is based on the article Centre’s new incentive scheme for States to achieve their targets and become eligible for incremental borrowing published in PIB on 13th Dec 2021.

What is the News?

The Finance Ministry had announced a new incentive scheme for States that could achieve their targets and become eligible for incremental borrowing.

What is the Incentive Scheme for States to become eligible for incremental borrowing?

Under the scheme, out of the Net Borrowing Ceiling(NBC) of 4% of GSDP for the States for 2021-22, 0.50% of GSDP was earmarked for incremental capital expenditure to be incurred by the States during 2021-22. 

The target for incremental capital expenditure for each state to qualify for this incremental borrowing was fixed. 

As per the targets, States were required to achieve at least 15% of the specified capital expenditure target for 2021-22 by the end of 1st quarter of 2021-22, 45% by the end of 2nd quarter, 70%  by the end of 3rd quarter and 100% by 31st March 2022.

This earmarking for incremental capital expenditure has been done because the capital expenditure has a high multiplier effect, enhances the future productive capacity of the economy, and results in a higher rate of economic growth.

In the first quarter, only 11 states had achieved the target, and hence they were granted additional borrowing permission.

Why do states need the centre’s permission while borrowing? 

Article 293(3) of the Constitution states that “A State may not without the consent of the Government of India raise any loan if there is still outstanding any part of a loan which has been made to the State by the Government of India or by its predecessor Government or in respect of which guarantee has been given by the Government of India or its predecessor Government”.

Article 293(4) says that the “consent under clause (3) may be granted subject to such conditions as the Government of India may think fit to impose”. 

Since, every single state is currently indebted to the Centre and thus, all of them require the Centre’s consent in order to borrow.


PM to address natural-farming event amid scientists’ concerns

Source: This post is based on the article “PM to address natural-farming event amid scientists’ concerns” published in Livemint on 14th December 2021.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister will address a National Summit on Agro and Food Processing.At this summit, the Prime Minister will spread basic knowledge about Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).

What is Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)?

ZBNF is a technique of farming developed by Padma awardee Subhash Palekar of Maharashtra.

It aims to help farmers bring down input costs by shifting away from agricultural chemicals and relying instead on natural inputs, mainly an admixture of urine and dung of native Indian cows.

At the heart of ZBNF is the idea that nearly 98% of nutrients needed by crops are CO2, nitrogen, water and sun which are available naturally and free of cost. The remaining nutrients need to be absorbed from the soil.

Hence, they are converted from non-available to available form through the action of microorganisms and an admixture of cow dung and urine.

However, the technique has not been scientifically validated and there is no evidence to show if it yields added any value for farmers.

More Links Related to this Topic


SC notice to Centre on social security cover for gig workers

Source: This post is based on the article “SC notice to Centre on social security cover for gig workers” published in Livemint on 14th Dec 2021.

What is the news?

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the public interest litigation seeking social security benefits to “gig workers” and “platform workers” engaged by Uber, Ola Cabs, Swiggy and Zomato.

What is the case about?

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court arguing that “gig workers” and “platform workers” should be recognized as “unorganized workers” and not “independent contractors” as claimed by the companies.

They should also be entitled to social security benefits such as insurance, provident fund, gratuity, maternity benefits and other welfare schemes that are denied to them.

The petition referred to the recent United Kingdom Supreme Court judgment that has analysed the contract between Uber and the employee. It found that the contract is only a subterfuge (a clever method used to evade rule or hide something) and the real relationship between Uber and its employee is that of employer and employee.

What did the court say?

The Supreme Court pointed out that the new legislation Social Security Code 2020 passed by the Parliament in 2020 has a chapter dedicated for the welfare of ‘gig workers’.

The petitioner argued that the Social Security Code 2020 is yet to be implemented. Hence, what they are seeking is that the gig workers should be declared as “unorganized workers” even under the pre-existing laws.

The court has agreed to hear the petition and issued notice to the Central Government.


PM Modi flags off new Kashi corridor as a bridge from past to future

Source: This post is based on the following articles 

– “PM Modi flags off new Kashi corridor as a bridge from past to futurepublished in Indian Express on 14th December 2021.

– “PM inaugurates Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasipublished in PIB on 14th December 2021.

– “PM Modi inaugurates first phase of Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi” published in Business Standard on 14th December 2021.

What is the news?

The Prime Minister of India has inaugurated the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project.

What is Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project?

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project in Varanasi connects the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the ghats along the river Ganga.

The project is aimed at ensuring easy movement of pilgrims and devotees between the ghats and the temple. Earlier, they had to pass through congested streets to reach the temple.

This improvement of the infrastructure in Varanasi is expected to give a boost to tourism in the region.

About Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. 

The Temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva Temples. 

The main deity is known by the names Shri Vishwanath and Vishweshwara literally meaning Lord of the Universe.


RBI Report on Digital lending: Good and bad sides of digi lending, in 5 charts

Source: This post is based on the article “Good and bad sides of digi lending, in 5 charts published in Livemint on 14th December 2021.

What is the news?

According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) working group report, over 6% of all loans given by commercial banks in April-December 2020 were digital. This is a significant increase from 1.5% in 2016-17. If regulated well, innovative and cost-efficient models can help digital lending leapfrog traditional lending modes.

Read more: RBI constituted Jayant Kumar Dash committee to study Digital lending activities  
What is digital lending?

Digital lending refers to the online disbursal of loans where all processes, including loan approval and recovery, take place remotely, typically through mobile apps.

A borrower-friendly approach, reduced paperwork, high availability, and economic implications of the covid pandemic are the reasons for the increased surge in digital lending.

What are the key findings of the RBI panel?

Huge increase in digital lending: The panel recorded a 12-fold jump in the credit disbursed digitally (₹1.4 trillion) by a sample of commercial banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) between 2017 and 2020.

Rise in small-ticket retail loans: Personal loans made up the lion’s share—just over half by value—of all digital loans given by banks. This was followed by loans to small and medium enterprises (16%). “Buy now, pay later” loans had less than 1% share by value but commanded a 37% share by the number of loans.

The rise in retail loans is due to an increase in demand for housing, vehicles, and education loans during the pandemic. For the first time in 2021, retail loans became the largest segment in India’s credit market by overtaking industrial loans.

Private banks in lead: Private Banks and NBFCs dominate the digital lending space, with a 55% and a 30% share, respectively, as of 2019-20. The share of public sector banks increased from 0.3% to 13% between 2016-17 and 2019-20.

Unsecured third-party apps for lending: The RBI panel found that more than 50% of loan apps in the market may be illegal. Around 2,562 complaints were filed against digital lending apps on the RBI’s Sachet portal between January 2020 and March 2021.

What are the challenges associated with digital lending?

Repayment Challenge: Rising bad loans in the retail segment could be a big worry. Aggressive growth of digital lending at the cost of quality of lending can lead to deterioration of asset quality for banks below the tier-1 category.

Read more: Jack Ma’s point on collateral-free lending holds relevance in India
What are the recommendations of the RBI Panel?

The panel proposed norms aimed at “orderly growth” of the digital lending sector. The panel recommended safeguard legislation and the creation of self-regulatory organizations that can verify and regulate the conduct of lending apps.

Read more: RBI working group warns on digital lending by big tech players

The panel also mentioned that responsible lending will remain a “distant goal” without customer awareness and watchful enforcement.


“Plastic production accounts for much larger carbon footprint than previously thought”

Source- This post is based on the article “Plastic production accounts for much larger carbon footprint than previously thought” published in live mint on 14th Dec 2021. 

What is the news? 

A study conducted by ETH Zurich (a public research university) has shown that the impact of plastic on climate and health is greater than previously thought due to the increased use of coal.  

Some findings of report are:  

1) Plastic production accounted for the 96 percent of the Particulate matter health footprint.  

Health Footprint is the amount of health resources that are consumed due to a particular reason/substance. 

2) Global carbon footprint of plastic doubled since 1995, accounting for 4.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

3) Developing countries like China, Indonesia and South Africa, were among the major producers of plastic and thus suffered from 75 percent of particulate matter-related health impacts. 

4) Study also showed that about half of this emission comes from coal used during the production of plastic. 

5) Fine particulate air pollution from plastic production caused approximately 2.2 million disability-adjusted life years (DALY). 

DALY is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. 

What is the impact of plastic production on health? 

When coal is burned during plastic production, it produces particulate matter that accumulate in the air. Particulate pollution is a mixture of soot, smoke, and tiny particles formed in the atmosphere from sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia (NH3). 

It is highly harmful and can cause asthma, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease. 

Mains Answer Writing

Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

Source: The post is based on an article “Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management Relevance: Indonesia’s football stampede and concerns associated with it News: The crowd at Indonesia’s Kanjuruhan stadium ran onto the pitch after their team lost. This led… Continue reading Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

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FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

Source– The post is based on the article “FABS: The East Asian lesson for India” published in the mint on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance– Semiconductor manufacturing News– The article explains the experience of East Asian countries in promoting semiconductor manufacturing. Recently the central government has announced some changes in the production-linked incentive… Continue reading FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

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Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

Source: The post is based on the article “Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – Functioning of Judiciary Relevance: benefits of live-streaming of SC hearing. News:  The Supreme Court has allowed the live streaming of the hearing of cases from 27th September 2022.… Continue reading Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

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There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

Source– The post is based on the article “There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Polity Relevance– Political parties in India News– The article explains the procedure for allotting symbols in case of conflict between two rival… Continue reading There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

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As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

Source– The post is based on the article “As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– India multilateral engagement News– The article explains the lessons India can learn from Indonesia on economic engagement. These will… Continue reading As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

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Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

Source: The post is based on an article “Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts” published in The Times of India on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 – Art and Architecture Relevance: concerns associated with repatriation artefacts in India News:  There has been a demand to return the Kohinoor diamond to India after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.… Continue reading Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

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The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

Source: The post is based on an article “The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 News:  The article discusses the change in the views of Gandhiji after returning to India from South Africa. Gandhi was greatly influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and John Ruskin.He adopted… Continue reading The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

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India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test” published in the Business Standard on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. Relevance: Russian war and India’s stand. News: Recently, India abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning… Continue reading India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

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Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

Source: The post is based on the article “Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. About SASTRA… Continue reading Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

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MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

Source: The post is based on the article “MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The government is now planning to bring convergence between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi… Continue reading MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

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